Red Stars solve Seattle, stay in playoff hunt

Caitlin Murray August 3, 2013 15
Taylor Vancil_Red Stars

Taylor Vancil stepped in for Erin McLeod in goal and helped Chicago to a 3-1 win over Seattle on Saturday. (Photo credit Chicago Red Stars/Smith)

In front of their first sellout crowd in franchise history, the Chicago Red Stars finally figured out Seattle Reign FC on Saturday, grabbing a 3-1 win Saturday at Benedictine University to keep their playoff hopes alive.

After two questionable penalty kick goals canceled each other out by the 28th minute, Chicago made the better of their chances, with forward Inka Grings twice capitalizing on insufficient clearances by the Reign to send the 3,400 fans home happy.

“We’ve been playing in games that have been must-wins for over a month,” said Head Coach Rory Dames. “We don’t really feel pressure because we don’t consider ourselves the favorites in anything.”

In the 41st during a routine goal kick, Seattle goalkeeper Hope Solo sent the ball directly into the path of Grings just outside the box, where she stopped the ball with her chest and fired it back toward an out-of-position Solo for a goal.

Later in the 72nd, Grings again scored with a Seattle turnover transitioned quickly by a long ball to forward Jen Hoy, who delivered a cross in front of the net to Grings. Defender Kaylyn Kyle stopped the German international’s first shot, but couldn’t clear it before Grings tapped it into the net for the 3-1 lead.

Sonja Fuss opened the scoring in the 12th minute when she finished a penalty kick after Seattle’s Jessica Fishlock brought down Jennifer Hoy in the box. Kyle equalized for Reign FC, finishing a penalty kick in the 28th minute.

The win was enough to keep the Red Stars mathematically in contention for the playoffs. By halftime, any importance of the game for Seattle was dashed when the Western New York Flash finished with a draw against the Boston Breakers, eliminating the Reign from the postseason.

Chicago went into Saturday’s game as surprising underdogs having had only two losses in their last nine games, both at the hands of the Reign. The Red Stars were the only team that hadn’t yet beaten Seattle Reign, who spent the first half of the season as the league punching bag before climbing back. The two teams tied to open the season.

Lori Chalupny, the centerpiece of Chicago’s attack and leading goal-scorer, was out recovering from a right ankle injury following a nasty tackle in Portland last week. Chicago Red Stars owner Arnim Whisler said Chalupny was wearing a “walking boot” but may be seen on the field again this season. Chicago has three games left in regular season.

Chicago’s usual starting goalkeeper Erin McLeod sat the game out as a precaution due to taking some hits to the head, giving 22-year-old Taylor Vancil the nod. Although Vancil recorded a number of saves, Seattle squandered several chances, sending shots directly to her.

Seattle’s best chance came in second half stoppage time when Megan Rapinoe fired one from the top of the box that bounced off the far post but unluckily failed to cross the threshold and bounced out of play.

Chicago Red Stars (7-7-5, 26pts) vs. Seattle Reign FC (5-11-3, 18pts)
August 3, 2013 – Benedictine University Sports Complex (Lisle, IL)

Goals by Half 1          2          F
SRFC                              1          0         1
CRS                                2          1         3

Scoring Summary
CRS – Sonja Fuss (Penalty Kick) 11’
SRFC – Kaylyn Kyle (Penalty Kick) 27’
CRS – Inka Grings (Unassisted) 41’
CRS – Inka Grings (Jen Hoy) 71’

GK Taylor Vancil , Michelle Wenino, Sonja Fuss, Jackie Santacaterina, Lydia Vandenbergh, Leslie Osborne, Julianne Sitch, Adriana Leon, Ella Masar (Alyssa Mautz 85’), Jen Hoy, Inka Grings
Subs not used: Erin McLeod, Maribel Dominguez, Dinora Garza, Rachel Quon

Seattle Reign: GK Hope Solo, Lauren Barnes, Stephanie Cox, Elli Reed, Emily Van Egmond (Kate Deines 72’), Jessica Fishlock, Keelin Winters (Kiersten Dallstream 83’), Megan Rapinoe, Christine Nairn, Kaylyn Kyle, Liz Bogus (Renae Cuellar 62’)
Subs not used: Michelle Betos, Jessica McDonald, Kristen Meier, Emily Zurrer

Misconduct Summary:
CRS: Michelle Wenino (Yellow Card 23’)
SRFC: Emily Van Egmond (Yellow Card 31’)
SRFC: Keelin Winters (Yellow Card 71’)

Referee: Kara Hanthumb
Assistant Referees: Jennifer Jones, Adrienne McDonald
Fourth Official: Donovan J Noocha
Weather: 77 degrees, partly cloudy

  • Ron Bishop

    A lot of times when a shot goes directly at a goalkeeper, it’s because of good positioning by the goalkeeper.

  • kernel_thai

    When Solo kicked that ball the first thing that came to mind was with the sun in ur eyes how different to light blue and white really look? I was very impressed with Hoy. Since they started playing her a few weeks ago she seems to have a very positive impact on the game. Rapinoe seemed a bit off her game.

    • hercircumstance

      I was at the game and the sun was bad on that side. Something she knew about obviously but you still can’t make those mistakes and not pay for it. Stuff happens. Everything felt off and Chicago’s game plan of laying players out, Jess specifically, and counting on the official not wanting to call everything worked. They were super physical and the game lacked flow. It started to go back and forth bruising. Kind of a bummer in that respect because it wasn’t good soccer at that point, but it has been the story of the league. They really need to address the ref issue for next year.

      Happy for Chicago getting the sell out. Lots of Hope fans there, but the crowd was cheering at the appropriate home town moments still. Fun to watch Chicago regulars notice Jess. They seriously went from “Who is number 10?” to “That Fishlock is really good” to “Go Jess go!” in my section.

      • Steglitz49

        3,400. More than Boston. What happened in the Windy City?

        If rumours that Nadine Angerer is coming to Chicago materialize, maybe time to hire Solider Field?

        • hercircumstance

          Lots of Hope shirts everywhere. Easy to market her and the Fox Soccer exposure boost may be a real thing. But like I said despite the NT/Solo bump the home crowd was cheering for Chicago so you can’t really get mad. You just wish Hope was around for that earlier game to help awareness and get the home season kicked off stronger. They started the season playing a team that also had no US Olympic players. A lot of not ideal happened. Finding your attendance groove late is unfortunate. Next year should be better.

          I fangirled when I saw Angerererer live but I seriously doubt she is a ticket draw in America. Quality player, but not popular. I’d expect she would go to California with Press to and an expansion team anyway. Chicago has their keepers set.

          • Steglitz49

            I would hazard an expansion team in Texas before California but I am happy to be proven wrong.

            Your point about ticket draw is well taken. If Inka and Fuss are willing to soldier on, the two foreign spots are spoken for anyway, so it is a bit hard to believe the Angerer rumour for Chicago. Maybe she is going to DC?

        • Silver Frost

          Hard to believe those figures, because the average is around 640. I did hear the owner say big things were planned for next season, and I wonder if that means a new venue. Hopefully one where the fans don’t have to stare into the sun all game, in the July heat.

          • Steglitz49

            According to the Equalizer, Chicago’s average attendance before this game was 1,484. If that figure is correct they should be close to 1,700 after this game is counted. Not too bad all things considered.

          • hercircumstance

            I was there and it was full. Easy to believe those figures. 🙂

          • Wear Nikes Drink Gatorade

            There’s about 94.6% chance you made that attendance figure up.

    • Silver Frost

      One could not help but notice that Hoy has lots of pace. She can make things happen.

  • Steglitz49

    The fight for that 4th place is heating up with the for Chicago optimal result between WNY and Boston. Provided Chicago can best DC and Seattle beats WNY, it will get plenty interesting.

  • Silver Frost

    The Deutsche Mädchen have made a big difference for CHI. Inka with 2 goals this game. Did you know she won the golden boot at EURO 2009 on the German NT? Inka is totally world class. Fuss also doing well.

  • Lance Scallop

    Yet another gutsy performance from Chicago – even more amazing with only one allocated player on the field (Leon). I still think it is a long shot for them to make the playoffs, but I sure wouldn’t bet against them.

  • JD

    Maybe if they move closer to Chicago they could get that more often? Toyota Park is too big, but there must be someplace else that is cheaper.